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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingZiggy Demo 0.91.3
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Tom
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« on: March 12, 2009, 03:52:34 AM »

Hey everyone, I finally got round to completing a stable release of my platform demo.



Download it here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/tfilhol/temp/ziggydemo.zip

Ziggy is a simple platform game where you take control of an acrobatic lizard.

Controls:

Left/Right Arrow Keys - Move Ziggy
Down Arrow - Stomp / Crouch / Slide
Z - Jump (Hold for variable height)
X - Aerial

"Ctrl Y" - Change Controls
"Alt Enter" - Full Screen Toggle

T - Toggle window size between 1x and 2x

Every 2000 points collected earns an extra life.

This is the demo version 0.9 but I'm calling it done for now because I'm pretty sick of working on it. I originally wanted a boss fight, better music (plus a different track for the temple) and a little more bug fixing, but this will have to do for now. After a little feedback/break from it I may release version 1.0 as it should have been with the above features mentioned.

This was originally supposed to be an interactive graphics set where you could just walk around 1 small level, but after making the engine I decided to add a little more and thought what the heck i'll turn it into a full demo. Comments, critique and bug reports are very much welcome. In particular:

-What were your favourite parts in general?
-Were there any sections you didn't enjoy, or that you thought were unfair?
-Any graphics you don't like or think are out of place?
-The music! ohhhhh maaaaan I'm so sorry about the music, this is the first time ever i've tried to write a music track, any help here is very much appreciated.

Well that's it for now, have fun.  Smiley

« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 01:02:43 PM by Tom » Logged
JLJac
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 04:10:18 AM »

The polish of this game is absolutely incredible. It looks and feels just like during the 90's, when 2D platformers were the shit and got great commercial budgets.

Very impressed Shocked

The fullscreen mode didn't work for me, I'm guessing it's because of my 1024*800 widescreen. It would be great if you could make it work with "odd" resolutions too, at least so that the play area is centered and the rest is black. Also I didn't get how to quit the game Shrug

The music was OK but not very memorable. Good work for a first time though, and it seems to fit the game's appearance.

Somehow I was lacking motivation to keep on playing, because I felt that I didn't know why I played. Who is the main character, what are his goals? Why do I collect all this fruit? But I actually think that is just my personal taste not going to well with this particular genre.

As a casual platformer it is almost perfect, like the Plato's theory of Forms example of a casual platformer.

Great work!
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Saint
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 04:58:33 AM »

I liked it, though I quit playing after awhile seeing as the challenges you had to clear before getting to the next area became a little too numerous and replaying platform challenges becomes boring after awhile. Sure, the gameplay is somewhat built on keeping flow, but seeing as there are too many dangerous obstacles for you to keep the same kind of momentum as, say, Fancy Pants, I think you should ditch the lives mechanic and simply give the player a score penalty on death. And as JLJac pointed out, there's not much motivating you to keep trying and the only progression is seeing more similar areas.

As for your concerns;
- Even though I did found it frustrating to have to do them over and over again, I especially liked the parts where you had to run on disappearing platforms over spike pits and alternate sliding and aerials
- I didn't like the stuff involving the bouncy flowers and spikes very much. Not that the precision of the controls where insufficient, far from it, but it felt like they broke the pace
- No graphics in particular felt out of place, it is very polished. If anything, I would have liked to see a bigger shift in colors and lighting inside the temple, to have a better distinction between environments.
- Kudos on the music, I did not guess it as a first attempt. Maybe not very memorable, but functional.

Great job!
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Tom
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 05:07:25 AM »

Thank you for your feedback guys, appreciate it. I will include a small update soon that will do either one of two things:

- As you suggested Saint, ditch the lives and have a score penalty for deaths.

Or

- Gain an extra life every 1000 points or so to give the fruit a purpose, which in turn should make the last temple area a little less frustrating by the time the player has aqquired a few more lives.

Not sure why the fullscreen didn't work, I'm using a 1680x1050 desktop and it works fine. I'll look into it.
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Adamski
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 05:20:14 AM »

"Somehow I was lacking motivation to keep on playing, because I felt that I didn't know why I played"

I was quite the opposite, I wanted to reach the end  Kiss Beautiful artwork ^_^
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2009, 07:44:39 AM »

Hmm, I thought it was pretty solid.
The engine itself was very polished and the graphics were good. Great work!

If you decide to continue developing this (Which I really hope you do), here are some suggestions:

-While the gameplay is solid, it needs a little something more. Maybe a combo system? For example, bouncing from enemy to enemy increases your multiplier, and you get more points for defeating enemies and collecting fruit until you touch the ground again.

-Hidden items that unlock content. While I can only speak for myself on this one, I think hidden items and unlockables (artwork, bonus stages, harder difficulty, costumes, etc.) in a platformer make it 2000x better. They also provide more incentive to play the game to its fullest.

-Longer music tracks. I liked the song in the first stage, but right when it started to get really good, it looped.  Sad



I hope my suggestions helped! Keep up the good work!

Oh, and I like how Ziggy wears a sweatband!  Hand Thumbs Up Left Tongue Hand Metal Right
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2009, 08:31:48 AM »

 Hand Shake LeftKissHand Shake Right
Some awesome Pixel work here!
I love the colour pallet and the simplicity of some of the tiles.
So that background...is WOW dude! And so are a few of the characters.

But(UHHHSDS ! the BUT), So yeah...The main character seems a bit off balance? Maybe its due to his feet being so far ahead of him? Also the tail? Due to the Character having an upright body it seems likely that he'd fall over. This could be me though, and I haven't played the game yet.
Me, I'd bring the feet back, make the character lean forward slightly and bring that tail up a pixel or two.


Your the pro here. And I'll play the game to have a  Blink at animations and so on.
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pgil
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2009, 09:28:14 AM »

Really nice looking game!

One problem for me, though: On the first temple level, it slows down to a crawl. This happens in fullscreen and windowed mode. The game ran smoothly before that level. Anyone else have this problem?

I also second longer (and more!) music tracks.
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Tom
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2009, 12:19:27 PM »

I made a small update in that every 2000 points now earns an extra life so there's a small incentive to collect the fruit. I'm also experiencing a little slowdown on the temple, probably due to the amount of active objects but I really can't help that unless the lazy clickteam guys hurry up and finish HWA.

Thanks for the feedback so far. :]
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2009, 01:21:58 PM »

I thought it was quite nice - fast-paced, smooth, addicting - everything you want in an ideal platformer.  I liked how you could run on water.

I found the attack a little difficult to use sometimes, but I suppose this game isn't really centered around combat.
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2009, 02:08:17 PM »

wow graphics look amazing.

Wow, just played it briefly. The controls are really smooth. Also, the animations makes the gameplay feel very fluid.

Alot of platformers have the problem of having bad jumping mechanics, this game handles it really well.

I really dig this

A+++
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 02:11:47 PM by eddietree » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2009, 03:44:59 AM »

Thank you, my aim was to create a simple and playable experience and I'm glad people are enjoying it.  Smiley

UPDATE! v0.91 The speed issue in the temple is almost completely resolved. People were complaining about the amount of spikes in the temple so I decided to replace some of the nastier ones with smaller spikes that don't kill you in one hit.

Also "T" now toggles the window size, if the temple still runs slowly (which it shouldn't) then a smaller window size may help.
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2009, 12:48:55 PM »

wow...
smooth controls. fine lovely graphics. best part: when i first collected the star and speed run to the left while collecting all the diamonds and running over the water.
moreover:
it makes actually fun to collect the fruits (looking delicious + the sound when they are collected + the animation). great work

some suggestions:
double jump would be nice. and maybe some kind of charging for a power attack.


seems that the slide isnt long enough...
and above i couldnt jump wide enough to pass the spikes.
edit:solved it...the attack jump helps.



will you create another game cause you said you stop working on this one?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 01:02:01 PM by AuthenticKaizen » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2009, 12:56:40 PM »

There is a blue speed star at the end of the level which leads you there, with the speed you will be able to slide under it easily. Once you've collected the furry and extra life head straight back there and stomp the cracked block just under the torch, which will lead you back near the end of the level again.

Just press X to get over the spikes above, you can aerial over them with ease. Smiley
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Stane
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2009, 03:55:42 PM »

I have just seen the artwork you posted for this DEMO on pixel joint. As JLJac back in its day Jazz Jack Rabbit didn't look this good. Nice platformer all in all, pretty old school. No surprises in gameplay but nice retro feel to it.

Actually only remark I might have about the artwork, and its really nitpicking, is the main character itself. Can't really put my finger on it, but somehow it looks less polished then baddies and tiles. But you set bar so high with your pixel art that it just might be me. I really liked the masked spearman baddie sprite. The wood texture there is brilliant. I wish if I could pull off something like that.

Cheers.
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Ishi
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2009, 02:19:23 AM »

Technical stuff first: major full screen fail here. I have three 1280x1024 screens, the first two looked like this:



and it shunted all my windows across to monitor 3. Sad

Also I was getting massive amounts of slowdown on the temple levels (on 0.91.2). Didn't try reducing the window size, but I wouldn't really have wanted to anyway.

As for the gameplay, it's aaawwweeesssooommmeee! Like Superfrog but better. Love the speed stars. Coffee The graphics are consistently tasty.
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Tom
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2009, 03:45:56 AM »

Oh my! The full screen mode is the biggest pile of fail ever, I'm very sorry about that. I'll try and fix it right away. I thought the slowdown was sorted, but apparently not. Bah!
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2009, 05:37:24 AM »

Howdy!

Interesting demo you got there. I like the general look of it and it has a nice vibe but I have a few little points I'd like to mention.

Visuals and Audio
First off, the graphics are really nice but I feel like the main character is bland. It would need something more exagerated in temrs of animation. His running animation is very soft compared to the speed at which the game scrolls. His idle animation could also use a bit more life, such as breathing. Sure its tail his moving and his eyes are blinking but the rest of the body remains still. The jumping animation also feels stiff since only a few part of the character's body is involved in the action. I suggest exagerating the main character's moves to give him more "punch".

Good job on the foreground/background definition, the player can clearly see where he can or cannot walk/land on. This aspect is quite important when creating a plateformer and it's done pretty well here. In general, the minimalist direction of the graphics works well, although I feel like a bit more details in the temple levels, on the bricks and background, would be nice. It is also inconsistent compared to the first level where decorative elements are quite detailed, like the mushrooms, while in the later levels the detail level is lower in many elements.

Design

It is unclear what the star meter is for until the player finaly picks up a star. The meter doesn't need to be there if it's not used. Putting too much information on screen at the same time disturbs the player's eyes for no good reason, so I suggest that you make the meter bigger and more flashy but appear only once you get a star. You could also pause the game for a split second and play a nice "star mode enable!" sound effect to make a cool transition from standard gameplay to star mode. Just a suggestion. Smiley

The game offers many precise challenge, such as landing on an enemy with precise timing in order to reach certain places, but the controls feel loose, hard to control. It is difficult to precisely control the character which such speed. From what I understand, you are going for a fast paced game, which is a pretty good idea, but you have to make sure that the challenges you offer to the player show the strenght of your mechanics. It doens't mean to change everything you got, but simply tweak them so that the player has a bit more time to react when landing so he can attack, stop or jump again. I suggest that you study the first levels of Sonic the hedgehog which is by far one of the best example of well designed 2D levels where fast gameplay is  placed upfront. Notice how the levels are created so that the player can zoom through them relatively easily when going fast. Also, look at how the same level can still offer some good challenges and even precise ones where the player must fully control Sonic in order to pass them. I'm not sayng that you copy what Team Sonic did back in the 90's but rather study how the levels reflect the core mechanic which is moving sonic at great speed in order to overcome challenges. 

I feel the sliding mechanic is counter intuitive as of now. Perhaps it is based on the fact that I constantly need to slow down in order to pass the challenges offered. I like the idea of the hero running quickly then sliding, but as of now, I don't feel like it is well used in the levels.

Related once again to the conflict between the controls vs the challenges offered in the experience, the game can become frustrating due to the mechanics based on precise challenge while the actual feel is quite fast. Sometime I jus want to go real fast but I can't since obstacles are stopping me. Other times, I want to perform a task precisely to reach a spot in the level but can't do it right since I can't fully control the character to my liking. It's one thing to learn how to do something but it's another to feel like it cannot be done due to the way controls react. Right now, option B is what I feel.   

Secondary goals are hard to understand. It's simple to know how to finish a level but it is unclear why we need to pick up things and why we should touch those weird blue smiling thingnies. Perhaps give a bit more player motivation so that it's worth investing time and effort to get these things in the levels.

In general, it's a nice little game. It feels like it has some influence from Wario Shake it + Sonic and other mid 90's 16bit plateformers. Good job.
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2009, 05:44:59 AM »

I'd just like to add my voice to the throng saying that this is incredibly polished, and that it looks gorgeous. It has the feel of a first-rate 90's platformer, something that's helped by the secrets in each level, which encourage exploration. I guess it mostly reminds me of Zool, but with better controls. Plus, echoing the sentiments on the stars: Awesome.

I think my only criticism of the graphics would be the way Ziggy's eyes look up when he's jumping, and down when he's falling. It looks a little odd to me, and would probably look better if he moved his whole head up or down.

I also experienced the slowdown on the temple levels. Made my eyes go all funny! Apart from that, it's wonderful.
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2009, 11:51:07 AM »

The art is gorgeous. Nice and vibrant colors, but I agree that Ziggy looks a little plain. I'm instantly reminded of Jazz Jackrabbit, especially with the red bandana, but he lacks Jazz's wacky facial expressions, and Jazz also had a lot of other gear, like his backpack, wristbands and big gun, to make him look more interesting. A more dynamic pose would go a long way, but the colors could also be varied a bit. In nature, lizards come in all manner of brilliant colors and designs, so there should be plenty of inspiration to be found there. Smiley

I agree with what Guert said about the controls. I actually found it much easier and more fun to just avoid enemies altogether, so maybe some incentive to kill stuff would be in order as well? I think instant deaths should be used sparingly, since I consider it the biggest pace breaker, and I also found it a bit strange the way he can die in one type of water and not in another. I know he can't really swim, but I think I'd like it more if it was just a chasm or if I could see him sink down.

Otherwise, it's an impressive demo, especially for just one person. I hope you'll continue working on this since I think you're off to a great start. Grin:handthumbsupR:

Edit: I just wanted to add that I really liked doing aerials in the temple spike pits. It made traversing the pits very elegant. In the jungle level, instant death by spikes in a shallow, open pit seemed unnecessary. In the temple level, I found it to be more of a clear challenge and more rewarding once I got the hang of it.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 12:34:25 PM by Arachne » Logged

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